Thursday, May 23, 2013

cast iron fried apples

I first discovered fried apples while at a Cracker Barrel, and I was instantly hooked.  If you've never had them...well, you need to.  And the stuff in the can in your grocery store doesn't count.

This recipe is my attempt to copycat my favorite Cracker Barrel side dish.  I've previously made Bacon-Fried Apples (so delicious!), but bacon is expensive.  These fried apples are more like Cracker Barrel's and even easier to fix than the bacon-fried ones.  You bake them in the oven and finish them on the stove.

And really don't need a cast iron to make these...but it does work nicely!

First, core and slice your apples.  I used 4 here, but you can use as many as you like and whatever kind that you like.  My rule of thumb - if you would enjoy eating the apple raw, then it works.  I prefer the sweeter, more apple-y tasting ones, myself.

Place your apple slices in a large skillet.  Cast iron works really well because it's just naturally nonstick and heats up so evenly.  Place pats of butter over the top of the apples (I usually allow 1 tablespoon butter per apple).

Bake your apple slices at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender.  You don't want them so tender that they become mushy and disintegrate.  Just tender enough that they slide back off a fork when pierced.

Liberally sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the tops.

Cook and gently stir on low heat, allowing the sugar, butter, and cinnamon to become one gooey syrup.  Once the sugar has dissolved into the butter, remove from heat and serve immediately!

This makes a delicious breakfast, side dish, or even dessert.  And it definitely fulfills any Cracker Barrel cravings!

Cast Iron Fried Apples
  • 4 sweet apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced into pats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 T. cinnamon

Place apple slices into a large skillet (preferably cast iron) and top with pats of butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender but not mushy.  Remove from oven and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over top.  Over low heat, gently stir until sugar is dissolved and makes a syrup.  Serve warm.  Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

bacon cheeseburger chowder

It seems so, so silly to be posting this recipe after what happened in Oklahoma yesterday.  I grew up in that beautiful state, and I passed through Moore just last weekend.  My family and friends live there (so far as I know, everyone is okay, thank goodness).  Possessions have been lost...lives have been lost.  So sad. 

But Oklahoma is a praying state.  They will get through this (they always do), and we can help.  Pray, pray, pray.  Pray for those children who can't find their parents.  Pray for those parents who can't find their children.  Pray for the injured.  Pray for the grieving.  Pray for those whose finances were already tight before losing everything they had.  Pray for wisdom for the leadership, medical teams, and rescuers.  Pray for provisions.  Donate what you can to the Red Cross.  But above all, pray.

So I guess, back to the recipe.  It's perfect comfort food - just like I grew up with in Oklahoma!  It's hearty and filling, cheesy and flavorful, and will warm you to the core.  Even if it's a balmy 90 degrees where you are living, just turn up the AC and have some of this.  It's just what I needed when watching the news last night.

First, you brown hamburger and onion in a large stockpot.  Drain, and then add frozen corn, red bell pepper, chopped potatoes, minced garlic, water, beef bullion, and salt.  If you are tempted to use beef broth instead of bullion, that's okay.  Just notice that the recipe calls for a greater proportion of bullion to water than you'd find in broth, so they flavor might be weaker.

Bring the soup to a boil, then cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.  At that point, add 2 cups milk.  Mix the remaining milk and flour until smooth, and then add to the soup.  Simmer until slightly thickened (just a few minutes).

Finally, add the cheese, and cook and stir on low until cheese is melted.  Serve each bowl topped with crumbled bacon.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder
  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cubes beef bullion
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2-1/2 cup milk, divided
  • 3 T. flour
  • 12 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • crisply cooked bacon to garnish

Brown hamburger meat with onion in large stockpot.  Add bell pepper, potatoes, corn, garlic, water, bullion, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Add 2 cups milk.  Mix flour into the remaining milk and stir into the soup; bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened.  Add cheese and cook on low, stirring until melted.  Top with crisply cooked bacon crumbles just before serving.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

butternut chicken

Lately, I've been loving my slow cooker.  There's just something so nice about being able to dump everything in and then just leave it while I go chase my baby girl around the house for hours on end.  And then, to sit down at dinner to something creamy and delicious?  Awesome.

I created this recipe because I just love squash and am always looking for an excuse to eat it.  I know it's typically an "autumn veggie", but I don't care!  It's cheap, it's packed with nutrients, and it's delicious.

First, grease the inside of a large slow cooker and place two frozen chicken breasts in it.  You don't have to thaw the chicken first...I love that.

Slice up one onion and layer the slices on top of the chicken.

Peel and cut a butternut squash and place the chunks over the onion.  This would also work with acorn squash or even pumpkin.

Mix cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and milk together with seasonings and pour it over the top.  Plop the lid on and cook on high for 5 hours.

The end result is creamy and absolutely flavorful.  It's going to be one of your new favorite ways to eat squash!

Butternut Chicken
Inspired by Autumn Nutmeg Chicken in Gooseberry Patch's Slow-Cooker Recipes
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 1 T. nutmeg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. rosemary
  • 1/2 t. sage
  • 1/2 t. thyme
  • cooked rice
Spray the inside of a large slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts inside (no need to thaw if frozen).  Layer onion and butternut squash on top of chicken.  Combine soup, sour cream, milk, and seasonings in a separate bowl; pour over top of chicken and vegetables.  Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.  Serve over cooked rice.  Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

slow-cooker cheesesteak sandwiches

Last week, I hosted a giveaway for Gooseberry Patch's Game-Day Fan Fare.  Well,  winner has been picked - congratulations Tammy Tittle Hiatt!  I'm so excited for you.  I'm sure you'll love this cookbook just as much as I have.

Judging by everyone's comments, one of the more popular recipes was the Slow-Cooker Cheesesteak Sandwiches.  You all were intrigued when I mentioned how much healthier these were than real cheesesteak sandwiches and how easy they were to put together.  Well, you are in luck!  Today, I'm sharing this delicious recipe with you.  Bust out your slow are going to love this one!

Slow-Cooker Cheesesteak Sandwiches
from Gooseberry Patch's Game-Day Fan Fare

  • 1 lb. beef round steak, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, diced (we thinly sliced ours)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1-1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cube beef bouillon
  • 16 oz. package shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 4 hoagie rolls, split

Add all ingredients except cheese and rolls to a lightly greased slow cooker.  Pour in enough water to just cover the ingredients.  Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.  Using a slotted spoon, place a serving of steak mixture on the bottom of each roll; sprinkle with cheese.  Replace tops of roll to make sandwiches.  Makes 4 sandwiches.
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